The Blue City by the Sea
Sortland will be painted blue!
Newspaper articles with this type of headline now fill several scrapbooks. Artist Bjørn Elevenes first presented the idea of a blue city in 1998, and a pilot project was begun, as part of Sortland Municipality’s millennium project and as a portion of the cultural lift, with the Gulf Stream as a source of inspiration.
A storm ensued. The local newspaper, during several stormy periods, printed page after page of letters to the editor, both against and in favour of the blue city, for and against the various shades of colour that were presented. In the meantime, the city has become a little bluer each year.
A wall here, an alley there, and a façade tomorrow. The idea is to infuse the local population and visitors to the city with new energy, to improve open public spaces, and to create an environment for growth and creativity. Some of this creative energy has found expression in Writing on a field of blue. Young people from Vesterålen have worked together with author Lars Saabye Christensen to create literary embellishments on a volunteer basis.
– We plan to collaborate in order to give Sortland a gift of poetry, said Saabye Christensen, before the volunteer group went out into the streets to find locations in need of a word, a sentence, a poem, a phrase.
The blue facades have been adorned with letters – short phrases addressed to you who wander along a wall, cross a street, round a street corner. Be sure to stop and ponder them for a moment!